Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Secrets of the Castle by Aaron M. Zook Jr.

The year is 1989 and the Zanadu family is in Germany where the father is a major in the U.S. Army. Fourteen-year-old Alexander and twelve-year-old Gabriel are on a road trip with their parents to see castles when a tire blowout starts an adventure that becomes dangerous.

This novel is told from Gabriel's viewpoint. When he finds out that the tire had been tampered with, he wonders if it has to do with his father's job in military intelligence. The family ends up at the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Alexander and Gabe have many adventures, finding secret passage ways and avoiding bad guys until they are kidnapped.

Middle school readers would like this adventure, especially ones interested in Germany. Zook has given us a great deal of description and history about the area so young readers will learn while they are being entertained. Alexander and Gabe have terrific dogs that understand lots of commands and help the boys in their investigations.

The first half of the book was a little slow, I thought, so continue to the second half where the action really ramps up. I was a little unhappy with the relationship between Alexander and Gabe. They fought a great deal. It was good to see that they did come to the point of working together when the danger hit. They know all kinds of great skills, like rock climbing and lock picking.

This is the first is the Thunder and Lightning series (the dog names). The second has released and there is an anticipated twelve in the series.

You can read a free sample here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Aaron M. Zook, Jr. is a retired U.S. Army Colonel. He is a full-time writer, is the praise and worship leader at Chapel Next on Ft. Hood, and serves as a volunteer for Officer's Christian Fellowship. He and his wife live in Belton, Tx. They have two married sons and three grandchildren. You can find out more at

Bold Vision Books, 198 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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